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Casey at the Bat (Metrics Version)

Other Baseball Today, 10:03 PM
I purloined this from WAPO. A modern version of an old classic. https://www.washingt...nl_ideas&wpmm=1
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Front Page: Hot Corner Consideration: Potential Third Bas...

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Inside the Twins’ meeting rooms this winter, plenty of discussion will be focused on starting pitching. However, third base should be a s...
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Front Page: Dealing with Wheeler Gets Minnesota an Ace

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:18 PM
This offseason the Minnesota Twins chief focus is going to be on acquiring impact pitching. The front office has suggested as much, and w...
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Plan to reduce minor league teams

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:41 PM
https://www.nytimes....ue-changes.html   https://www.baseball...r-league-teams/   It would appear that MLB must be thinking the...
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2019 MLB (Non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 04:20 PM
Here's thread for general (non-Twins) 2019 MLB postseason discussion!
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Recent Blogs


Now Entering Second Guess Season

Minnesota’s dreams of postseason glory were cut brutally short on Monday night. Target Field was poised to exploded at the first sign of life from the Twins, but that moment would never come. Instead, fans saw the Twins set many dubious records. Minnesota became the first 100-win team to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs and the club has lost an MLB record 16-straight postseason games.

As the dust starts to settle, where should the blame be placed? Fans begin to move from the postseason to a time of second-guessing choices made by the coaching staff and the front office.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Starting Pitchers
After watching Jake Odorizzi on Monday night, plenty of fans were questioning the decision to hold him off until game three. As the series started, Minnesota’s logic was to use Odorizzi, a fly-ball pitcher, at Target Field, which is a less-prone fly-ball park than Yankee Stadium. Randy Dobnak had been a good story for the Twins, but he was a rookie with few MLB appearances.

Odorizzi had been named an All-Star and he might have been Minnesota’s best pitcher down the stretch. While Jose Berrios struggled in the second half (4.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), Odorizzi posted a 2.86 ERA in August and a 3.27 ERA in September. In a shorter five-game series, Odorizzi might have been the better choice in the second game of the series.

Kepler’s Injury
Minnesota, like a lot of teams, deal with injuries down the stretch. Luis Arraez suffered what looked like a season-ending injury in the Twins’ last series of the year as he had to be carted off the field. He came back to hit 5-for-11 against the Yankees and he became the first to record to record four doubles in an ALDS. Max Kepler also missed time at the end of the year, but he didn’t fare nearly as well against New York.

Kepler did not record a hit in 13 plate appearances and he officially finished the postseason going 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and three walks. Some might question if Kepler was healthy enough to play in the post-season, but the second guessing could come in the team’s decision not to play him in the season’s final series against Kansas City. It’s hard to know if Kepler was healthy enough to play. However, standing in for at-bats against the Royals might have helped him to get some of his timing back after being injured.

Bullpen
Taylor Rogers didn’t pitch until the third game of the ALDS and Trevor May was limited to one pitch in the entire series. Some might question whether Kyle Gibson should have even been on the roster. In Game 1, Minnesota turned to Zack Littell after only four innings out of Jose Berrios. From there the Twins turned to the likes of Cody Stashak and the aforementioned Gibson. This wasn’t exactly the power bullpen Minnesota had used the final weeks of the season.

The results from Game 2 weren’t much better as Dobnak recorded six outs before Duffey struggled in his 2/3 of an inning. By the middle of the second game of the series, Duffey was the lone key relief option to make multiple appearances and the team’s two best relievers (Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers) had yet to appear. Rocco Baldelli made plenty of good decisions throughout the season, but his bullpen usage in October is something to be questioned.

If you are second guessing the Twins, what decision would you change? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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56 Comments

 

I was mildly opposed to some of the bullpen usage, but not strongly.

How could you not be strongly opposed to Duffey being the 1st guy out of the pen, in a jam, in game 2? See the evidence from Fangraphs here:

 

http://twinsdaily.co...nkees/?p=929648

 

That mistake was so obvious, it goes beyond "rookie manager learning the ropes" to me.

How could you not be strongly opposed to Duffey being the 1st guy out of the pen, in a jam, in game 2? See the evidence from Fangraphs here:

http://twinsdaily.co...nkees/?p=929648

That mistake was so obvious, it goes beyond "rookie manager learning the ropes" to me.


Meh. It wasn't a good move. It wasn't a move that made a huge difference. I would have used Rogers in a jam. So, sure, that move was bad. But people are acting like every decision was bad. The players stunk. That's what mattered most.

 

Meh. It wasn't a good move. It wasn't a move that made a huge difference. I would have used Rogers in a jam. So, sure, that move was bad. But people are acting like every decision was bad. The players stunk. That's what mattered most.

What do you mean, it didn't make a huge difference? It took the game from 1-0 to 8-0.

 

We had Rogers, Romo, and May *fully rested*, and we turn first to our most-taxed reliever from game 1. Did you read the link? Duffey's velo was down from game 1 (not surprising). And Gregorious specifically said he was seeing his pitches better, having already seen him in game 1 (not surprising).

 

I totally get Littell/Duffey in game 1. I'm not crazy about the Stashak/Gibson moves in game 1, but I can see a justification for that too -- but not if you're just going to go to Duffey again like that in game 2. The point of using Stashak/Gibson was to save Rogers/May/Romo so you wouldn't *have* to use Duffey like that again in game 2.

    • Sconnie likes this

What do you mean, it didn't make a huge difference? It took the game from 1-0 to 8-0.

We had Rogers, Romo, and May *fully rested*, and we turn first to our most-taxed reliever from game 1. Did you read the link? Duffey's velo was down from game 1 (not surprising). And Gregorious specifically said he was seeing his pitches better, having already seen him in game 1 (not surprising).

I totally get Littell/Duffey in game 1. I'm not crazy about the Stashak/Gibson moves in game 1, but I can see a justification for that too -- but not if you're just going to go to Duffey again like that in game 2. The point of using Stashak/Gibson was to save Rogers/May/Romo so you wouldn't *have* to use Duffey like that again in game 2.


I just said it was a bad move..... That's one. One bad move.
I'm not so sure some of our Pitchers want to be here...I would definitely try and keep Odorizi.

 

I just said it was a bad move..... That's one. One bad move.

Not all bad moves are created equal. This one was bad from conception -- is there any valid argument to lean on Duffey again there? -- and it completely gave the game away in the 3rd inning, putting us in 0-2 series hole. (Plus the trickle-down effect, that using Duffey again in that spot largely contradicts/invalidates the Stashak/Gibson strategy of game 1, maybe even the Dobnak decision too.)

 

Compared to something like the Arraez vs Schoop decision -- even if one disagrees, I think one can see a valid argument for the other side. For all we know, Arraez's ankle was indeed fine and he simply misread the looper in game 1. And of course, that misplay alone wasn't all that meaningful, and was only magnified by the single, deep fly (advancing runner), double, and walk that Berrios surrendered to the subsequent 4 batters (the same 4 batters folks seem to want Berrios to have faced a third time, at 88 pitches, in the 5th inning), even before the Cron misplay on the potential double play. Not to mention that Arraez provided a run at the plate in the same game too.

 

On the Schoop/Arraez thing, I posted elsewhere, but I don't get that criticism either. Even as a "lefty masher" Schoop had basically the same AVG and a lower OBP vs LHP than Arraez this season, and Schoop's profile (power, strikeouts) was also largely redundant with several other pieces in our lineup. Arraez turned out to be one of our few effective bats this postseason, and perhaps his unique profile was a contributing factor -- the Yankees didn't seem to have an effective approach for him. (Schoop struck out in both of his pinch hit ABs, suggesting the general Yankee approach was working on him too.)

 

Furthermore, it looks like perhaps Schoop is exploitable in the postseason / pressure spots? Career postseason OPS of .346 before 2019. Others have noted he wasn't exactly "clutch" this year either (-1.10 WPA, -0.58 WPA/LI, both worst on the team, with career negative marks too). Last October the Brewers only started him 1 time, and used him as a pinch hitter 3 times, over 10 postseason games. He shouldn't be an automatic start in the postseason vs a LHP, or anyone, really.

 

I'm sure there's a point where Arraez's health may have warranted Schoop starting, but it's not clear to me that we were at that point, despite that looper dropping in the outfield in game 1.

 

No doubt Arraez bat was helpful (since not many other people hit in game two and 3).  

However, he was clearly limping in game one.  Didn't he hit into a DP in game one ( yes as well as a double)?  Didn't get to a ball that clearly started a Yankee rally, made a poor throw on an easy turn (yes Cron should make that play).  Also did not cover 2nd base on a double off the wall that came straight to Marwin and we had a chance to get him out at 2nd (Cron was running to get to 2nd base).

 

Subsequent games yes to playing Arraez and pinch hitting him once the Yankees game one starter was out.

 

Just saying you play the veteran there against the lefty and with the mitigating circumstances.

The 2nd guessing with the benefit of hindsight is fun, but I think it's safe to say in hindsight that the Yankees were a better team. 

    • Longdistancetwins and chpettit19 like this

Second-guessing? Hey, contraction in 2002 could have prevented all this needless suffering.

    • Dantes929, markos, Sconnie and 1 other like this

For all we know, Arraez's ankle was indeed fine

One look at Luis running down the first base line, in the second inning, had me saying "he ain't right." This is why I'm not willing to call it second-guessing - we could not possess that information until seeing him in action, but the manager and coaches had the opportunity to find out beforehand. Rocco was unfortunate, to have things unravel so visibly involving a couple of 2B plays in the top of the third, and if instead they had won the game then we probably wouldn't be discussing the starting lineup - but that still doesn't make it a second guess. Rocco weighed the information - lefty vs lefty, inferior defense, marginal ankle readiness - and made his choice. It's fair to question it.

    • USAFChief likes this

Bottom line - we didn't hit.Not nearly enough to be competitive.

 

The one game we were "competitive" - game #3 - we scored 1 run, and blew our best opportunity (bases loaded, no outs, got nothing).Championship teams score runs in those situations.

 

We don't have a #1.Berrios might be a #2, Odo might be a #2 - more of a #3 (and a good one), but we don't have a guy who blows people away.  

 

Some of it might be "our guys are inexperienced, and the Yankees aren't." We'll have to see about that.

 

First two games, though, we were just obviously over-matched, and it was a matter of "when is this going to blow up" .....I wish it was different, but it wasn't.

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Battle ur tail off
Oct 09 2019 12:32 PM

 

 

First two games, though, we were just obviously over-matched, and it was a matter of "when is this going to blow up" .....I wish it was different, but it wasn't.

 

Do you remember game 1? We were up 2-0. The boys were hitting homeruns like that had all season. 

 

Bad stuff happened when our 1st baseman didn't catch a ball. Then it compounded when our manager made every bad decision possible when it came to handling the pitching staff. 

 

We should have won game 1, hands down. That happens, we are in a much different position. As it were, we lost a winnable game, got spanked in game 2(another game in which the pitching wasn't handled well) and then came home for game three knowing it was just a matter of time before or season was over. 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

 

The one game we were "competitive" - game #3 - we scored 1 run, and blew our best opportunity (bases loaded, no outs, got nothing).Championship teams score runs in those situations.

 

Game 1 was competitive, for quite a while. It was 3-3 in the 5th with a full pen, and still 5-4 in the 6th with the same pen minus only Littell and Duffey.

 

The bats certainly disappeared after that, for most of the rest of the series. (Although it certainly didn't help matters that manager decisions put that game out of reach in the 6th and 7th, and the next one in the 3rd.)

    • ashbury likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Oct 09 2019 12:53 PM

(the same 4 batters folks seem to want Berrios to have faced a third time, at 88 pitches, in the 5th inning)

Yes. Send Berrios out for the fifth. Absolutely.

Not singling you out.

Do you remember game 1? We were up 2-0. The boys were hitting homeruns like that had all season.

Bad stuff happened when our 1st baseman didn't catch a ball. Then it compounded when our manager made every bad decision possible when it came to handling the pitching staff.


Bad stuff started when our obviously hobbled second baseman couldn't catch a routine popup. He also made a pretty bad throw on the ball Cron should have caught.

That inning doesnt happen if Arraez catches that popup.
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Oct 09 2019 12:57 PM
Another decision many of us were questioning in real time was not using Castro in game two.

Maybe with Dobnak, the veteran Castro calls the game differently. You can always sub in Garver later if you needed a bat and took Castro out.
    • Vanimal46 likes this

Hearts not into something that's usually fun. Sigh. Too many fielding mistakes, too many bad decisions, too many poorly executed pitches, too many instances of batters not being able to hold their water. Honestly, it takes a dozen examples to rationalize even a sniff at one win. And that would be one win. Did I say sigh yet?

 

No doubt Arraez bat was helpful (since not many other people hit in game two and 3).  

However, he was clearly limping in game one.  Didn't he hit into a DP in game one ( yes as well as a double)?  Didn't get to a ball that clearly started a Yankee rally, made a poor throw on an easy turn (yes Cron should make that play).  Also did not cover 2nd base on a double off the wall that came straight to Marwin and we had a chance to get him out at 2nd (Cron was running to get to 2nd base).

 

Subsequent games yes to playing Arraez and pinch hitting him once the Yankees game one starter was out.

 

Just saying you play the veteran there against the lefty and with the mitigating circumstances.

Does not covering 2nd have anything to do with his ankle?

 

Arraez did ground into a DP in his first PA, but you know what? Schoop had a higher GIDP rate vs LHP this season anyway.

 

I'm not saying Schoop would have been the wrong choice, but I don't think Arraez was necessarily either.

 

And the evidence we have from the series doesn't really suggest otherwise -- even if you dock Arraez in the field for game 1, he was 5-for-11 with four doubles in the series. Schoop got carved up in his two PAs, including one vs the lefty Happ.

    • SwainZag likes this

 

One look at Luis running down the first base line, in the second inning, had me saying "he ain't right." This is why I'm not willing to call it second-guessing - we could not possess that information until seeing him in action, but the manager and coaches had the opportunity to find out beforehand. Rocco was unfortunate, to have things unravel so visibly involving a couple of 2B plays in the top of the third, and if instead they had won the game then we probably wouldn't be discussing the starting lineup - but that still doesn't make it a second guess. Rocco weighed the information - lefty vs lefty, inferior defense, marginal ankle readiness - and made his choice. It's fair to question it.

Was there a good camera shot of Arraez running down the line? I don't recall one, but I might have to go back and look.

 

Although it isn't a permanent binary condition either. Maybe he ran fine the day before or in warm-ups, but landed on it weird coming out of the box on that particular play. The defensive play seemed less of an issue with a limp and more of an issue with trying to judge a looping ball behind him.

 

I think it's fair to question the decision, but a lot of people are putting this firmly in the "mistake" column, even above the Duffey game 2 thing. I just don't see that.

 

Bad stuff started when our obviously hobbled second baseman couldn't catch a routine popup. He also made a pretty bad throw on the ball Cron should have caught.

That inning doesnt happen if Arraez catches that popup.

Well, we've disagreed about calling it a "routine popup" before. It was more of a looper that went pretty deep into the outfield. If it had actually reached popup height, it's Rosario's catch given where it landed.

 

And Berrios followed it up by allowing a single, a deep fly (advancing the runner), a hard-hit double, and a walk before the Cron play, so I have a hard time absolving him of too much responsibility for the inning.

Was there a good camera shot of Arraez running down the line? I don't recall one, but I might have to go back and look.

No. Below is what I think was shown in the telecast ("Paxton induces inning-ending dp" - I don't know how to isolate the one video). We saw the first step, and the final ones. It was enough for me, in the moment - I think the step after touching the base made it look a little ginger, and since he didn't make the play close I had my doubts.

 

https://www.mlb.com/...eos,game=599342

 

Yes. Send Berrios out for the fifth. Absolutely.

Not singling you out.

May I ask why?

 

Postseason game 1 seems like the most pointless time to try to extend your starting pitcher. Your full pen is the most rested it will ever be.

 

Berrios was already at 88 pitches. Last 2 months of the season his average was 96 with a high of 101. Judge was leading off, with Encarnacion (2 doubles already) due up third. With as patient as the Yankees were, does he even get more than a batter or two in the inning? FWIW, Berrios this season goes from .675 OPS the first two times through the order up to .750 the third time. OPS .850 from 76-100 pitches, .960 at 101+.

 

It seems like people are putting a lot of stock into his smooth 4th inning, but it was the bottom of the order, only 2nd time though, and he started two of them with balls and didn't have a swinging strike in the inning. Letting Littell start a clean inning in the 5th, with Duffey ready in case of trouble, was a reasonable alternative. (Things start getting murkier with Stashak and Gibson, and Duffey again the next day...)

 

Again, not saying sending Berrios out for the 5th would have been a mistake, but pulling him doesn't seem like much of a mistake either. At least not comparable to the game 2 Duffey move.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and twinbythebay like this

 

No. Below is what I think was shown in the telecast ("Paxton induces inning-ending dp" - I don't know how to isolate the one video). We saw the first step, and the final ones. It was enough for me, in the moment - I think the step after touching the base made it look a little ginger, and since he didn't make the play close I had my doubts.

 

https://www.mlb.com/...eos,game=599342

Thanks. I found a direct link, from https://baseball.the...20191004/599342

 

https://cuts.diamond...20_59_4000K.mp4

 

 

It was a pretty quick play, and Arraez is no speed demon -- I wouldn't expect it to be that close. If he seems to be running gingerly, it's mostly after he's stretched to touch the bag.

 

In any case, I don't think I would have expected anything meaningfully better from Schoop there. And Garver was due up next and didn't get the ball out of the infield all night. At least Arraez used the experience to double and score a run off Paxton his next time up, so it wasn't a complete loss.

 

Not staring Schoop was questionable, given Arraez was not 100%. Stashak in a 1 run game was the biggest head scratcher, along with trying to stretch Rogers and Romo for 4 innings in an elimination game.
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Oct 09 2019 02:57 PM

Hearts not into something that's usually fun. Sigh. Too many fielding mistakes, too many bad decisions, too many poorly executed pitches, too many instances of batters not being able to hold their water. Honestly, it takes a dozen examples to rationalize even a sniff at one win. And that would be one win. Did I say sigh yet?

But I don’t think it needs to work that way. If the Twins convert that double play in game one, couldn’t you easily see a situation where the Twins lead 3-1 or 3-2 going into the 6th or 7th inning? That’s a good sniff at a win, no?

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